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Actinotus helianthi

Actinotus helianthi

Thank you to Monocotyledon@Flickr aka Margaret Morgan of Sydney, Australia for sharing another Australian plant image with BPotD (original | BPotD Flickr Group Pool | Margaret's weblog: Growing Passion). I rarely manipulate other people's images other than cropping or a very subtle amount of contrast enhancement, but when I do, I like to admit it. This one is pretty obvious anyway – I've cloned out a distracting strand of fibre in the upper-right corner of the original image. If that's not alright with you, Margaret, let me know and I'll post the original (and thank you!).

Flannel flower, or Sydney flannel flower, is native to eastern Australia. As you call tell from the green-tipped white leafy bracts subtending the globular cluster of small flowers, its common name is the result of the woolly surface on the bracts (and indeed, most of the above-ground plant). The Australian National Botanic Garden provides an excellent intern-written article about Actinotus helianthi, which covers details about the name, the ecology of the species and a fair description. The Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants also has a page on Actinotus helianthi, but I note it disagrees with the ANBG version regarding propagation success of fresh seed.

Wikipedia's entry on Actinotus helianthi provides a link to an artwork incorporating the flannel flower: the Waratah window.

On a different topic, a few of you have asked what's happening to BPotD after it hits the thousandth entry in a week-and-a-half or so. To be truthful, I haven't had much time to give it a lot of thought or move the institutional wheels much; I've been busy with the project you'll see at the end of January. The attempts I've made at securing funding for a student intern haven't progressed very far, but that's just the reality of the university's situation. Other ideas, like setting up an easy way to make small donations, are going to take some time and require nudging along the university's central development office in adopting new models for giving.

I suppose we don't brag often enough (we are Canadian, after all). I was interviewed for the local paper a few weeks ago (the article will appear in January) about the garden's web site, but perhaps I should share a few stats with you now that might appear in the article. The garden's web site, thanks to BPotD and the forums (and thanks to the many, many people who freely contribute on the forums), receives roughly the same amount of web traffic as Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew's and Missouri Botanical Garden's web sites. During summer months, the site receives over 300 000 unique visitors over the span of month, and half a million visits including repeats. The garden's budget is roughly 1/50 that of Kew or Missouri, so the web presence of UBC BG far outstrips what it should proportionally have. The idea of inviting people to the site to talk about plants seems to be a successful one.

Back to the topic at hand, though: it is looking like the work on BPotD may be distributed among a few of the other staff members, at least until funding can be secured for an intern. I'm planning to contribute a couple times a week, as long as it can be done during regular work hours. Also, I'm hoping to convince the bryophytes class at UBC to contribute one entry per week from January to the end of March. For UBC's Research Week celebrations in mid-March, I'm also hoping that researchers and grad students at UBC will contribute a week's worth (or more) of entries about their plant research. So, BPotD is not going to go away, it just might operate in fits and starts until we figure out a new and sustainable way of doing it. The good news, though, is that I'll be able to make the long dreamed-of improvements to the site once I have more free time and attention.

13 Comments

Daniel
Certainly for me, the entertainment and educational value of BPotD is definitely worth an annual fee. I look forward to continued contact with BPot? in whatever future form it takes. Best wishes
Souren

Wow, what a lovely surprise. Thanks, Daniel. By maybe-not-such-a-coincidence, that's the image I'm now using for my flickr account profile. It is a gorgeous inflorescence. :)

BPotD provides an interesting daily view of the amazing wonders of our horticultural world. I look forward to viewing it each day as it provides a unique and calming balance to our otherwise hectic life. Daniel, I have always admired and aprreciated your tremendous effort and dedication in preparing and presenting this daily educational program. The statistics you quote emphasize both the importance and economy of your contribution. I would be pleased to make an annual contribution towards the cost of producing BPotD. I am sure there are many others who would agree withmaking such a 'donation' providing it goes to this program and is not 'captured' by the UBC for another of their many 'needs'.

Wow, this is an exciting entry. (I also liked the recent bug-eating plant entry as well.) On the topic of a small fee, I think making a donation now and again would be important and something I would want to do. I'd agree with Knox that I'd want to know my donation was supporting this site and your work. I also think making a donation mandatory for use of this site would hurt the ability of this site to attract and sustain users. I think, like public radio in America, there will always be many, many users on good quality sites. Many will never contribute but among the total users you'll find a large band of willing financial contributors. Take care and all the best. James

Oh, we're definitely not looking at an annual fee. There is much on BPotD that is shared under license by others via Creative-Commons or implied license by submitting the image to the various contributors' pools. Even without those limited-use licenses that prevent us from doing so, we'd still steer away from profiting directly from the work of others on principle.

I appreciate the offers of donations, and I am going to work to make it easy to do so (and yes, the money would be directed to a special-purpose fund that is restricted to be used on UBC BG web content - something that we've already initiated to create, but takes a little while to process).

I'd be keenly interested if anyone has suggestions on institutions we could apply to for grants. I've tried approaching Canon in the past, but have never received a reply.

I agree most strongly with making voluntary donations easier. I often contribute to causes online, and found the process for dontating to the UBCBG annoyingly complicated, not to mention being unable to specify that it go to supporting the Photo of the Day. I look forward to BPotD eagerly, but will probably never have the chance to visit your garden, a couple of thousand miles from my home in Maine. Thanks for all of your good work.

Sorry, I guess I meant a 'contribution' rather than a 'fee'. Semantics so often get in the way of good intentions. Best wishes -

I have not been a subscriber to your site for very long, but the subject matter and the way you organized your site is wonderful. You make it so easy to navigate back into your past postings. I look forward to bpotd every day and would be very willing to donate to help out.
Carol

Much of the charm here may be the approach taken to moderation. Haven't checked out Kew or Missouri forums so I don't know how they might differ in this respect.

300,000 X 1% X $20.00 (Voluntary, US or Canadian!) = At least one intern! I have been going to Shaw's (Missouri Botanical) Garden for about 60 years and am a current member. They do a lot and are a great source of information. But I have been to your site almost every day for the last couple of years. Just tell us where to send the Check/Visa/Mastercard to support you and your intern.

Why not approach the Vancouver Foundation for some form of funding?

It is something I've considered in the past, but I thought their language re: granting was a bit restrictive for university programs - it doesn't seem to be that way now, though. I'll look into it a bit more.

This Apiaceae is incredible, can be seen the stamens in the central part of the flower and may look like an Asteraceae, being this feature one I have never seen for Apiaceae.

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